Tomb raiders find Indian adventure

by Shane Dillon
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IF IT ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The popular mantra can spring to mind when facing franchise sequels or spin-offs, which usually tend to offer more of the fan-pleasing same rather than taking things in a creative new direction.
Still, when that spin-off comes from the juggernaut that’s the PlayStation’s Uncharted series – and comes directly linked to Uncharted 4, still one of the very best benchmarks in console gaming, why ‘fix’ things, indeed?
Gamers have been following Uncharted’s fortune-hunting rogue Nathan Drake for many years now, but with developer Naughty Dog saying that Nate’s tale has been satisfactorily concluded, there’s now room for ancillary globe-trotting, tomb-raiding characters to step into the charming thief’s shoes.
So we arrive at Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4, Cert 16, c. €40), where we meet again sharp-witted, impulsive thief Chloe Frazer, this time teamed up with cool-headed mercenary Nadine Ross, with the pair having to set aside their mutual dislike to team up to find another shiny McGuffin.
They’re on the trail of the Tusk of Ganesh, a relic in a long-lost Indian city – as are a group of bad guys, whose intentions are much worse than ‘just’ being thieving treasure hunters – with the scene set for a game that feels very similar to Uncharted 4, but one that forges its own identity by refining that game’s brilliantly successful formula, rather than reinventing it.
Although it’s a direct spin-off – presumably the first of several, given the well-developed characters the long-running series has fleshed out – The Lost Legacy forges its own beats and identity from the off.
While several of the game’s mechanics will be instantly familiar, they all combine to create a fun tale of derring-do adventure, occasional puzzles and stealth, and regular guns-blazing action sections showing that Chloe and Nadine are a very, very capable pair of characters.
Their frequent bickering, occasional quips and chit-chat create a pair of believable characters in unbelievable situations, and the unlikely pair soon establish a strong dynamic.
It’s also worth pointing out that with strong, believable female leads still in short supply in gaming, Chloe and Nadine are especially welcome to see here.
Once again, Naughty Dog have delivered a top-tier title, with a game that’s packed to the brim with graphical bells and whistles, again pushing at the top end of console power.
Given that much of the donkey work had been done with the tools it developed for the previous game in the series, that should come as no surprise, so The Lost Legacy may not have quite the same impact and wow-factor that Uncharted 4 so memorably did.
Still, given its spectacular settings and a general air of dilapidated beauty – from some shabby slum streets to crumbling, overgrown temple ruins – it’s a game that’s an absolute looker in many parts, with some simply stunning vistas to discover.
One thing that bats against the game is its length – it was originally developed as DLC (downloadable content) before getting spun out into a longer tale, leaving it with a relatively short play time of about 7-8 hours, if you trot through at a brisk pace.
However, that’s just about the only criticism to make, as The Lost Legacy is very much a gamer’s game – its sumptuous graphics, fun gameplay and strong, likeable characters all combine to create a title that’s well worth finding.

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